DOH out to ?search and destroy? filiarasis-carrying mosquitoes

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, provincial health officer, said the approach, which focuses on the eradication of the breeding grounds of mosquitoes possibly carrying the disease, was earlier emphasized by the Department of Health (DOH) as an effective measure against the parasitic disease.  

He said the DOH recommended that the approach against Filaria e more intense than the military methods since Filaria-carrying mosquitoes can bite and afflict a person anytime.

The province was among the focal areas earlier identified by DOH for the intensified Filariasis Elimination Program (FEP).

FEP is aimed at eradicating Filariasis in at least 39 provinces in the country, including South Cotabato, where it has been found to be endemic.

Filariasis is a chronic parasitic infection transmitted by infected female mosquito that can cause permanent body deformities to affected persons.

If left untreated, the disease may develop into Elephantiasis that causes the arms, legs, breast or even sexual organs to swell or enlarge.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said the current National Micro Filarial Rate of 3 percent is already considered alarming since it means some 645,372 persons have been afflicted by the disease.  

In Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao), DOH records showed that South Cotabato has an incidence rate of 4.47 percent while Sarangani has 12 percent, Sultan Kudarat has 22 percent and North Cotabato has 7 percent.

Through the DOH's Mass Drug Administration Program, Sandig said they are presently providing Filarial drugs to those afflicted with the disease and those who are considered at risk.

He said the Filarial and deworming drugs that they distribute to the program's target beneficiaries should be taken at least once every year for the next five years.